Water scarcity is a profound challenge for designers of the built environment. Beyond looking for water sources and creating sustainable ecosystems, how can we begin to create cities and buildings that will help us to celebrate and mitigate hydro-logical concerns? Hadley and Peter Arnold, co-directors of the Arid Land Institute (ALI) at Woodbury University, have decided to tackle this problem around Los Angeles. With the support of the World Water Forum and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, they recently developed a high-resolution geospatial model to strategically identify and quantify the potential for improving storm water capture within urban areas.
“Will Grand Avenue finally turn around? Most likely not until they make it a two-way, add more trees, bike lanes, and pedestrian amenities. Buildings alone can’t do it, no matter how daring, novel (or expensive) the architecture.” — Guy Horton, The Indicator, “Ten Years Later, Has the Disney Concert Hall Made a Difference?“
The latest controversy surrounding the Grand Avenue re-design, the long-awaited project to develop the stretch of land east of the Walt Disney Concert Hall, is the re-instatement of Frank Gehry, a move which occurred after the city of LA rejected plans from mega-developers Related Cos. (designed by Gensler in collaboration with Robert A.M. Stern) for being “overly commercial.” Of course, while the Related Cos. plans may have failed to wow the city, the decision to bring Gehry back to the project hasn’t exactly been embraced either.
A must-see article in Zócalo Public Square asks four urban planning experts, “what would you do with Grand Avenue?” In his latest ArchDaily column, Guy Horton offers his opinion: any re-design must rely on activating life on the street-level, rather than on one architectural solution. Well, ArchDaily readers, now we’d like to know your thoughts on the matter.
DALE, short for Dynamic Augmented Living Environment, is this year’s U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon entry for the SCI-Arc/Caltech team. Made of two movable, prefabricated modules that open to allow the outdoors in, DALE celebrates the active California lifestyle through its dynamic architecture.
DALE learns from two classic California precedents: the super-sized suburban tract home and the compact, sufficient bungalow; amending one and expanding on the other to become a new Southern California typology. At 600 square feet, it is a micro house with an unprecedented flexible interior that results in the program of a house three times the size.
On October 23rd, the Walt Disney concert hall, the project that almost never was, will celebrate its ten-year anniversary. Throughout these ten years it has had all manner of transformative power attributed to it. But has it really transformed LA? What would the city have been like if it had never been built? Would it be fundamentally different?
The answer? No.The city wouldn’t even be that different in the immediate vicinity of Grand Avenue.
Journey through a three-dimensional landscape of striking architecture in this career-spanning exhibition of Moshe Safdie’s work. Global Citizen: The Architecture of Moshe Safdie surveys the renowned architect’s career from his formative period in the 1960s and early 1970s to his recent projects around the world, exploring his aesthetic language of transcendent light, powerful geometry, and iconic forms.
Using sketches, models, photographs, and films of twenty-five projects, the exhibition portrays Safdie’s architecture not only as visual art but as a medium for advancing social, political, and cultural goals. Along with the exhibition, there will be a talk with Moshe Safdie at the Skirball Cultural Center on Sunday, October 20, 3:00pm. Click here for more information.
It’s been called a “remarkable work of public architecture” that “engages [the city of] Los Angeles” like few others. With the 10 year anniversary of Frank Gehry‘s Walt Disney Concert Hall approaching, the LA Times, with some great, in-depth coverage, has been taking a look back at its architecture and what makes it such an important icon for both Gehry and LA. Oh, and don’t forget to check out its soon-to-be neighbor on Grand Avenue, the Broad Museum by Diller Scofidio + Renfro!
The Getty’s Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. hosted A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living at UCLA’s Hammer Museum and Contemporary Architecture from Southern California (formerly known as A New Sculpturalism) at MOCA Geffen for the better part of this summer. These two exhibits, on view until September 8 and 16 respectively, give us insight into Los Angeles’ past and present architectural legacies. They take on fundamentally different challenges. One uncovers a prolific and primary history of a modernist architect, the other attempts to capture and catalogue an unwieldy and unstable present.
Read on after the break for reviews of both exhibitions…
A shadow hangs over the hills of Los Angeles, threatening its modernist architecture. In this article on the Daily Beast, Andrew Romano investigates the trend for the ‘McMansions’ which are now popular among LA’s super-rich, and the risk that they pose to the style that “many believe was perfected in Southern California” – the hillside modernist home. But it’s not all bad news: he finds that the Schairer House, designed by Gregory Ain in 1949 is now being restored, and Beverly Hills last year past its first preservation laws. Read the full article here.
The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles has announced that it will celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2014 with a redesign of its interior and a complete transformation of its exterior facade to create a “world class museum that will showcase the art, experience, culture and heritage of the automobile.” The exterior design by Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates will give the Petersen a truly unique and iconic look that will hopefully attract architecture and car enthusiasts alike.
More on the museum’s drastic transformation after the break.
Ten of Los Angeles’ Case Study Houses have been deemed historically significant and worthy of being included on US’s National Register of Historic Places. Despite the Los Angeles Conservancy’s belief that all of them deserve “equal preservation protections,” the 11th home was not included due to “owner objection.”
The Case Study Houses spawned from a post-WWII residential experiment, presented by the Arts & Architecture magazine in 1945, which introduced modern movement ideas for affordable and efficient housing. Designs by the likes of Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig, Eero Saarinen and others, redefined the modern home and, with the help of Julius Shulman, placed Los Angeles as an epicenter for mid-century modernism.
The 11 homes included on the register are:
This article originally appeared in Metropolis Magazine’s Point of View Blog as “Working at the Crystalline Level.“
Los Angeles-based P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S is among the most intriguing and progressive firms working in architecture today. They seem relentless in pushing boundaries in areas like ultra-light-weight high-tech materials and immersive media. They are also very thoughtful and patient in the way they approach design.
This is good because what they are engaged in and the way they work takes time. By collaborating with engineers and innovators in different industries they are slowly changing the way architecture is carried out and conceived on material and ontological levels. They don’t do spec homes, they do what’s new, and sometimes try to do what hasn’t been done yet.
Founder and co-principal Marcelo Spina and co-principal Georgina Huljich both teach, he at SCI-ARC and she at UCLA, where they pursue research interests with students and then reflect that back into their small but energetic practice tucked away in one of Los Angeles’ rustic urban edges, Atwater Village.
One thing to recently emerge from this office is the experimental carbon fiber pavilion they call Textile Room.
Just eight months after being awarded the design-build contract with Clark Construction Group, Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill (SOM) has broke ground on the new, $318 million United States Courthouse in downtown Los Angeles. This is a long-awaited achievement for the city of Los Angeles, as attempts have been made to construct a new courthouse since 2007. However, despite having to abandoned a $1.1 billion Perkins + Will proposal years ago, many believe this sustainable and more cost-effective design by SOM was worth the wait.
The Indicator: Two Shows, Many Cities: “A New Scuplturalism” at MOCA and “Never Built” at the A+D Museum
Here in Los Angeles we have a complicated relationship with architecture and two con-current museum exhibitions demonstrate this in ironic and puzzling ways. This came into clear relief when, on Saturday, August 03, 2013, something amazing and unprecedented happened: architecture was on the front page of a major US newspaper, the Los Angeles Times.
This, it must be said, is a very unusual thing for architecture. Moreover, it was not the type of architecture you might expect to grab the spotlight. It was the un-built original plan for Los Angeles International Airport by Pereira and Luckman, c. 1952. If you’ve been to LAX you’ve seen their Theme Building. They also did the plan for LAX that was finally accepted—the less visionary, less ambitious plan. This was being re-presented to the world in the context of “Never Built” a show about the unrealized architectural dreams of Los Angeles currently showing at the A+D Museum.